top tips for getting a job mtgov
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Published Bi-monthly by Livingston Job Service Workforce Center February, 2009 – Volume 1 Top Tips for Getting a Job In today’s job market, getting employment can be both competitive and challenging. The truth is that even when jobs are plentiful, there are techniques you should be practicing to land the job you’re seeking. Remember that hiring managers and recruiters aren’t successful when they turn applicants away. They are eager to find good, qualified people and fill their vacancies. Below are some tips that will help boost your chances for getting a job offer. _______________________________________________ 1. Apply for jobs you are qualified for. Think twice before setting yourself up for failure by applying for jobs that are outside of your own knowledge, skills and abilities. While applying for every job that looks remotely like a match may seem the wise thing to do, if you overstate your qualifications, it will probably come out during the interview and kill your chances at the job. 2. Define your employment goals. If you’re going through some “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up” uncertainty that happens sometimes, do yourself a favor and keep it out of the interview. Employers are not generally interested in hiring people who don’t know what they want to do. Try to develop some job goals for yourself even if you’re not sure about your career ambitions. 3. Maintain a professional appearance. A poor personal appearance can eliminate you from getting a job before you even have the opportunity to speak. First impressions do really count. Insure that you look and smell clean, and dress the part. Try to wear clothes that will fit in and if you smoke, smoke after the interview – not before. Keep in mind also, that excessive body jewelry, head or facial hair may be called into question, regardless of how well you can do the job. Remove, trim or cover up before going to the interview. 4. Show some enthusiasm! You don’t have to act like you’ve just won the lottery, but it’s important to express some enthusiasm for a job. If not, get ready for the fast and quick interview where the hiring manager thanks you and says, “We’ll be in touch at a later date if we decide to hire you”. 5. Establish and communicate the value you can bring to the job. When you give the impression that you are only interested in “what’s in it for me”, a job opportunity is often lost. You establish your worth by the specific things you say in answer to the interviewers’ questions about what it is you have to offer. 6. Talk positively about past employers. Saying something bad, negative, or telling horror stories about your current or past employer/s will get you nowhere very fast. It may be the single most damaging thing to do on an application or at an interview. It’s better to put a positive spin on things like saying you’re looking for a more physically active job, or you want greater contact with people, etc. 7. Prepare for the interview. Preparing includes practicing your answers to possible interview questions as well as researching the company. Interviewers are always impressed when you know something about their company. If you stumble with your answers, it will be obvious that you are unprepared. Relax. Smile. Be confident and ready to answer the question: “What can you tell me about yourself” in two minutes or less. Never talk about your personal life. Download an Interviewing Informational Flyer 8. Polish up your people skills. Your résumé looks professional. Over the phone you shine. But in person, you fall short of impressive. Your personality will have to get along with every other personality in the team. If you show any sign that you can’t, it’s often bye-bye job. If you know you are shy or don’t like working with people, don’t say that you are weak in your people skills. Instead, offer an explanation that you are a bit shy or you prefer to work with equipment. 9. Communicate your strengths. Know what your strengths are before you interview. A hiring manager will try hard to expose your weaknesses by asking some very tough interview questions. Prepare and practice how you will talk about your strengths instead, even if the interviewer asks you directly to reveal your weaknesses. 10. Sell Yourself. Most people find it difficult to talk about their selves in a “self-important” kind of fashion. Think about yourself as a product. Then decide what characteristics of that product would likely make you choose it over another. For example, if you could choose between a food that tastes good, or a food that tastes bad, which would you likely choose? The reasons you choose the good tasting food are similar to the ones an employer makes in choosing who will make a good employee. In conclusion, there are many tips, tricks and methods for sealing the deal and getting a job offer. These ten tips are among the most important. Remember that it’s your responsibility to insure you are avoiding anything that would prevent you from advancing into the job you want. Smile, be confident and don’t forget to say, “Thank You”. You’ll be amazed with the results. Resume Mistakes Did you know that employers spend less then one minute reviewing most resumes and applications? Ask yourself, what do they look for? If your resume or application isn’t a good one, you probably won’t be considered for an interview. Here are some of the most common resume and application mistakes to avoid: Spelling errors, typos, and poor grammar. Take the time to proof read and correct any errors or your resume/application is likely to end up being shredded! Use spell check whenever possible. Too duty oriented—reads like a job description, failing to explain your relevant accomplishments. A good resume must detail your accomplishments and skills. Highlight the business benefits and work results that are attributable to you, your involvement and leadership in the workplace. Poor formatting—bullet points, boxes, use of headers and footers, etc. Although a resume may look good on paper, that doesn’t mean it will on a computer screen. Forget the headers and footers and other formatting that may not show up at all, or may be in disarray on the hiring manager’s computer screen. Personal information not relevant to the job you are applying for. Including irrelevant personal information is not only a waste of space, it can actually hurt you. Remember that hiring managers are trying to fill a job opening, not match you to a personals ad! Your resume/application looks lazy! Providing the bare minimum of what’s asked of you, won’t get you very far—in life or in your job search. Applying to jobs with the same resume and cover letter says that you won’t spend extra time & effort to do something right for yourself or in your job. Irritating pictures, graphics, or URL links. Unless you’re a super model or applying for a job as an actor, control the urge to include your picture on the resume. Instead, let the hiring manager judge you based on your skills, education and work history. Objectives and meaningless introductions. A generic objective is a good way to have your resume tossed out immediately. If you include an objective at all, make it "grab" your reader. Write it like a headline to a major front-page news story. Inaccurate or missing employment dates. A resume or application that does not include employment dates sends up "red flags" about a candidate’s background and is a good way to ensure that you won’t be called for an interview. Missing references. By omitting references in your resume or application can lead a hiring manager to believe that you are seeking to avoid a reference check. Always make sure the hiring manager has at least three people to contact who can speak well of you and your accomplishments. Livingston Job Fest Coming Soon! Meet with the Area’s Top Employers! Tuesday, April 21, 2009 Park County Fairgrounds 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Livingston Job Service presents two FREE Workshops for Job Seekers on Thursday, February 26, 2009 Resume Writing 9am‐11:00am Interviewing 2pm‐4pm Download Resume Flyer here Download Interview Flyer here If you are an individual with a disability, here are some of the benefits and services that a Montana Job Service Disability Navigator can assist you with: REMEMBER…Your resume is the first impression that a prospective employer will have of you! Download a Pocket Resume Job Listings and Referrals Resume Assistance Community Resource Information Americans with Disabilities Act Resource Library and Computers Child Care Information Labor Market Information Career Exploration Job Search Assistance Career Planning Occupational Training Information Copier, Fax, TTY Services Call (406) 222-0520 for more details Coping with Layoff By Zanya Betley, Workforce Consultant Livingston Job Service Workforce Center If you read the news, if seems layoffs are everywhere. Whether you are part of a massive layoff making headlines or a small company letting a couple people go, it probably doesn’t make you feel any better knowing you are not alone. The following is a brief guideline to assist you when dealing with the loss of a job. 1. Recognize this is a “loss” and that you are probably grieving Grief over job loss is natural and comparable to the experience of being diagnosed with a major illness. You will likely face Shock, Anger, Mourning, and finally Acceptance of the loss. If you find you are “stuck” in any of the stages, know there is help available and seek it out. 2. Unemployment Insurance Benefits (UI) Sign up right away – Online at: https://app.mt.gov/ui4u/index By Phone at: (406) 444‐2545 or (406) 247‐1000. Don’t be embarrassed to file for Unemployment or assume you do not qualify for benefits. Unemployment Insurance is paid by your employer and is there to cushion you in the event of job loss. Remember that you must qualify for benefits, this is NOT a handout. 3. Immediately Cut Your Living Expenses Stop using credit cards Plan weekly menus Don’t eat out Avoid malls and shopping centers Reduce entertainment Conserve energy/fuel Talk to creditors about reducing your payments Have a garage sale Collect on any debts owed to you 4. Managing Your Insurance and Retirement Accounts Find out if you qualify for COBRA (continued insurance coverage) and if so, how much? 401K and/or other retirement plans – find out what you need to do to roll them into an IRA (cashing out, will cause tax penalties). 5. Performing Your Job Search for New Opportunities Register with your local Job Service by visiting or online at: https://jobs.mt.gov Think about the kind of work you want to do – explore new options online at http://mtcis.intocareers.org Update & polish up your resume – attend workshops, read books, do online research. Livingston Job Service offers expert staff and resources available to assist you. “Surviving a Layoff” by Harry Dahlstrom is the source for much of the information provided above. Copies of the entire publication are available at no charge to you through your local Job Service or contact Livingston Job Service to request your copy.